There used to be a blog called Musae Mosaic run by my good old chum Loony Lara. It featured a weekly flash fiction game called 200 Word Tuesday that I used to take part in regularly. Sadly it no longer exists which is a shame as it was good fun and often times a worthy challenge for my creative skills. Each month she would give two prompts for inspiration for participants to create a short piece of no more than two hundred words. Many of my entries had to have multiple parts as sometimes the inspiration ran away with me. these pages are collected all the stories I submitted for the game. The longer entries are on a separate page. Where possible I’ll include the prompts that inspired the stories if I’m able to recall them.
So to the first bunch of stories under the theme of,
Late afternoon, the festival raged on under the blazing sun. My ears were already ringing from the previous two days of hard metal music, each band louder than the previous. I’d had more sex that weekend than I could normally cram into a year, I was hungry, smelly and nearly exhausted but I wasn’t done yet. My dad would kill me; he thinks I’m at a university do. The headline act was about to destroy the stage and raise hell. This is what I’ve been waiting for.
Waking up in hospital with my leg in a cast and my ribs bandaged up, attached to a drip with my head shaved posing a scar across my scalp to be proud of. It turns out I was a mosh pit demon though I vaguely recall throwing a few punches of my own. My dad wasn’t happy, his little princess was battered and bruised, and was horrified to learn I was doing it all again in the Autumn. “Why?” He begged. “’Cause Dead Silent are the best, that’s why.”
I daren’t tell him I’d started my own band. Little Princess we’re called, and we open for Dead Silent in October.
* * *
The secret is to remain deathly silent while I watch her. Not even a single breath. All the security and surveillance equipment she had, easy. I can be in the same room she wouldn’t know I was there. None of them do. She knows me, they all do, but would never suspect me of what I do even in they’re worst nightmares. That’s the joy of it. I watch everything; dress, undress, bathe, laugh, cry, pleasure herself and others, nothing is sacred to me. Sometimes she’ll pause, an instinct warning her there’s something in the closet; then she’ll dismiss it as nonsense.
An added ingredient in her bedtime drink makes her sleep while I play. I touch her soft flesh as she dreams. When she wakes in the morning she’ll be strangely satisfied but non-the wiser, and every moment caught on film to add to my growing collection. Quite a legacy to leave behind and what an unpleasant surprise it’ll be for my family.
I’ve had my fun with her; it’ll soon be time to move on to another girl on my list. So many to choose from it’s a devil to decide.
* * *
Green, blue, red, which? Which one? Two minutes to remember my training, to late to get out. By the time I reach the entrance I’ll be dead. This isn’t like the ones used in training, its hand made. God knows how its been set up. For all I know they’re all wrong! Stay calm. I can do this. Usually its green, neutral, never red, blue is just a dummy or a trap, and traps are his specialty. Always outsmarting the opposition and evading capture, always playing games, mind games,…mind games? Maybe that’s it. It’s a dud, a fake. Keeping us distracted while he springs the real trap, buying time to make his escape unseen, or is that what he wants me to think? Would he go this far for a joke? Less than a minute. Hands shaking, heart pounding, knife slipping through sweaty fingers. Green, blue, red, green, blue, red, green, blue, red, BLUE!… the silence was as crushing as it was deafening, the ringing in my ears grew louder and louder. The countdown continued. Will it blow? Or not? 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2,…..
* * *
My granddad’s old violin left to me in his will now hangs on my living room wall pride of place where all can se it. Those now silent strings stretched motionless across the fingerboard yearning to be touched again by his loving expertise. I can hardly remember a time he didn’t have it under his chin making it sing like an angel in a box. Often I can still hear it, or is it my mind playing tricks. I know it sounds a bit odd, but sometimes I can’t decide. With him it was never silent. He’d often encourage me to have a go but I wasn’t really interested. Now I miss the music he played. Id even dream of it at night, like it was haunting me, demanding I play it but I couldn’t. After several weeks it was driving me insane. Enraged I grabbed it, ready to put it on the fire, yet it was like holding a baby animal, looking at me with those sorry eyes. I couldn’t sell it, or destroy it. It meant too much to me. I miss him and his music.
I took up lessons and I’m doing well. I’ll never be a professional, just play for pleasure. But now at last, I’m at peace.
* * *
The world is coming to an end. I’m trapped in a trench surrounded by the enemy advancing ever closer to what seams like an inevitable victory against all odds. I have no fear left, as low on ammunition as I am on faith. Do I wait for the enemy to find me, or use my last few rounds to save them the trouble? Its no use hoping for a miracle, god has firmly abandoned us long ago.
All around me I can hear gunfire, bombs exploding, tanks firing, people screaming. With every sound the ground shakes and all the time it’s getting closer. This is where I’m going to die, and I can’t help but wonder, why? Why are we doing this to each other? We fight today to make tomorrow better, but already we’ve forgotten yesterday. We fight for peace, and yet achieve the opposite. I watch helpless as my blood is washed away with the rain. With every drop the noise grows faint, so I wait for the inevitable silence, which will grant me freedom from this madness. My body will rot but I’ll be by her side, keeping my promise to return, by her side where I belong.
* * *
The worst part of investigating a crime scene is the silence. I’m there in the aftermath of an atrocity trying to piece together the story of what may or may not have taken place, and all the time the silence just hangs on me as a heavy oppression I cannot shake off.
Surrounded by evidence, my mind cannot help but create images of what could have happened. A young woman was brutally murdered. I know there were screams and shouting, things being broken, and when I examine her body I can hear and feel the punches and her bones cracking. I can hear her choke as he squeezed her throat and her final breath leaving her behind.
By now the dead silence to me is almost deafening. To help me cope I think of music while I record the gruesome details, though nothing I particularly enjoy, I don’t want my favourite songs tainted by what I’ve seen. But I can still hear that awful quietness, helping me appreciate the life that I have. Her silence speaks volumes of her final moments and I use it as a driving force to find the one responsible.
Only then will her screaming stop.
The following theme was,
My first encounter with that most mysterious part of the male anatomy, came to me purely by chance at a tender young age, whilst playing hide and seek with my dear friend.
I had found a most suitable location among the bushes that would have her searching for the day; only to be disturbed by a cry of what I thought was that of pain. A little searching found my eldest sister, in what was a most compromising embrace, with Lord Archer’s son, soon to be my step uncle. First, I marvelled at how she practically hung, quite naked, from his neck with both hands and ankles. He, also quite nude, was simply standing with his enormous hands on her hips, moving her back and forth as though pushing her on a swing.
Her gasps and cries suggested great discomfort, yet her look of pleasure told otherwise. I was both horrified as I was fascinated to watch his; ‘bee sting,’ as I used to call it, being thrust into her very body via her most private region. It was certainly an education, but more so a moral dilemma. In only a few days he is to wed my other sister.
* * *
The scorpion sting was thought to be a myth, a devastating manoeuvre of martial art legend. The mighty Tzu had killed thousands of May Ying’s warriors, now nothing would stop him storming the temple and slaying the Queen, but for one brave soul, a mere servant girl, no larger than a tall child, dared to stand before him.
He towered above all men, yet to her he was a true monster. He howled with laughter at this tiny girl who stood her ground. Non would dare to aid her so the mighty Tzu accepted her feeble challenge. Both stood ready, him a mountain of rage, she, a coiled spring ready to release. A long tense moment passed, Tzu lunged for her, she, in the blink of an eye, leaped into the air, rolling forward as she did, landed both heels firmly onto his skull, then just as quickly, leaped back to land after a series of flips.
Tzu stood motionless; he stumbled, then fell with a crash to the ground, dead.
His army, shocked and bewildered, surrendered without question. This little girl had saved the empire against all odds where warriors and armies had failed. And thus the legend was born.
The following theme was,
“Hold the violin like holding a baby in both hands,” he said. She carefully held her instrument before her. “Think of all the hours, the days, weeks and years you’ve been slaving to master it. To begin with you had reason to fear it, now it has reason to fear you, but; that doesn’t make you its master. A virtuoso isn’t someone who can play anything without effort, anyone can do that, a virtuoso is someone who can make it sing. Like I say to all my students, that instrument is everything you need. Its strings are you’re vocal chords, its body is you’re body, the bow is you’re breath, and its sound is you’re voice. Words are useless to you now. Everything you ever need to say is inside that curvy box.”
She looked at him. “Do you understand now?” he said.
“I think so.”
“Then play. Don’t just make a noise, tell me a story.” She placed it to her chin and held her bow ready. “Remember,” he said, “there’s a soprano inside it. Weather she sings or screams is entirely down to you.”
For the first time in her life, she played with tears running down her face.
* * *
Tear of the Unicorn. Part 1
King Gerald, the first to unite the whole of the land, defeating hordes of barbarian warlords and crazed tyrants dividing the land into perpetual war. His rule was absolute and his kingdom was prosperous and fertile, yet evil still lurked in the shadows. He had two daughters, the loveliest and purest of all.
A demon came to his court for payment of a secret pact his Queen made to secure the kings success in battle. Gerald; betrayed yet noble, bade him anything in his kingdom in return for continued peace. The demon demanded his eldest, Princess Eliza. The king refused so the demon cursed him with Lycanthrope. Until he agreed, he would slaughter all the people in his kingdom. The Queen, no stranger to magic, knew of another way to break the curse, the tear of a Unicorn, from which only the purest could collect.
His daughters embarked on a quest to find the legendary creature, pursued by the beast of their father. On the bank of Lake Endeavour, Eliza stood between the Wolf and the Unicorn, offering herself to protect the majestic creature. Whilst distracted, Princess Ella, the youngest, collected the tear in her hand. As the wolf leapt, Ella drank the tear. The wolf pinned her down, but deep within, Gerald could not kill his daughter.
Tear of the Unicorn. Part 2
The Demon appeared. His army of goblins surrounded the family and the Unicorn. He demanded that Gerald either slay his youngest to return to human form, or give him his eldest. Ella, although faced with inevitable death, remained calm, and looked into the wolf’s burning eyes awaiting her fate. The urge to kill was overwhelming yet Gerald’s love for his daughter was too strong. The Demon grew impatient and held a blade to Eliza’s throat. The Unicorn neighed and kicked, running into the water. Ella kept her eyes on her fathers as a tear ran down her face.
Rage engulfed the heart of the wolf as the Demon commanded her death. The wolf turned and charged at the Demon. Eliza escaped his grasp and leaped into the lake with her sister, the wolf and the Demon fort savagely until they fell into the lake. The water erupted. The Demon roared as three Unicorns drove their horns into his black heart. He and his goblins vanished.
King Gerald was human again. Around him was his wife and daughters, naked and cleansed by the lake. The remaining evil that plagued the land was finally destroyed, in the lake formed by the many tears of the last Unicorn, the enchantress, his beloved Queen. And thus began the age of peace.
* * *
The following theme was,
To find her, simply follow the trail of destruction. To catch her in a more, subtle mood, simply follow her footprints. You can’t miss them, they glow like hot embers as she walks to find fresh water incinerating everything in her path. She could be the daughter of the devil himself with her skin like molten larva, her hair ablaze with yellow flames, eyes as bright as the mid-day sun, and wings like sheets of fire.
I once saw her bathe and I was lucky to survive. She will step her toes tentatively into the water, instantly making it hiss and boil. A cloud of steam will surround her as the heat withdraws into her being, returning her skin to a healthy colour. Her wings will vanish in a puff of smoke as she slowly submerges herself, eventually emerging as a seemingly ordinary woman with dark hair with red and yellow streaks, and pretty flame blue eyes.
Is she a monster, or a demon? Who can tell. She was born in the heart of a mountain of fire. To summon her will come at a great price, for fire burns everything, regardless.
Do you still want to call upon her?
* * *
I remember when I was a little girl; we stayed over at our uncle’s log cabin for Christmas. As all the grown ups were chatting and laughing after an enormous dinner, I curled up on the couch and watched the logs and coals burning on the fire.
As I watched I saw the flames flickering on the glowing embers and I must have fallen asleep. I clearly remember seeing the flames dancing as though they were little fire people. At first, they were moving in circles around the logs, and then they jumped out of the fireplace and were dancing all over the room.
I’m surprised I wasn’t worried they didn’t burn the place down. After jumping all over the furniture, they all merged together to form one big flame in the shape of a person, who reached out to invite me to dance. I’ve never danced in my life, and there I was doing a waltz with a flickering flame. The room became a ballroom and I was wearing a dress made of fire. We danced around in circles to the music, until we were about to kiss, when I was scooped up by my father and taken to bed, much to my drowsy protest.
I usually forget my dreams, but that one, I’ll remember forever.
* * *
Life never ceases to surprise me. We met on a dating site. We got along great but I wasn’t sure if she was “the one,” but she did seem to be everything I was looking for. I asked why her name was Ember and she said it’d be easier to show me and our first meet up was set.
I found the club she said to meet her and immediately thought I’d got the wrong place with its dancing poles, private rooms and cages with near naked women inside them. I order a drink and wait by the bar feeling very out of place, then I hear, “Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls gather round for the ride of your life! She’s hotter than hell and one hell of a girl and tonight; she will burn for your seething delight. Call the fire brigade cause here she is, the star of the show, EMBER!!!”
To put it briefly, she performed with fire and an angle grinder, making sparks fly from all over her body, putting flames in her mouth and between her legs in highly suggestive ways. She was also extremely flexible, juggling fire while contorting her amazing body.
Now I understand why they call her Ember.
Yep. She’s the one.
* * *